Updated on February 8th, 2019
Root canals are one of the most important dental treatments. By removing infected tooth material and strengthening and protecting the tooth, a root canal allows it to be saved – and eliminates the pain and discomfort caused by an abscessed or infected tooth.
Best of all, modern innovations and techniques are allowing dentists to provide better, safer, and more comfortable root canal therapy. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the technologies that are being used in modern endodontic therapy.
Strong, Lightweight, Flexible Nickel-Titanium Files
Many dentists have shifted away from using traditional stainless steel files and tools to clean out the root canal. This is because stainless steel is quite brittle, and could be susceptible to breakage while cleaning the tooth. If a dental tool breaks in the tooth, it may be difficult to remove this metal. The metal may even be left in place, in some cases, and while this is typically not harmful to the tooth, it’s not ideal.
In contrast, nickel-titanium files are much more flexible and durable, which means that they can more easily be used to clean the canal without fear of breakage. In turn, this means that dentists can clean more deeply and thoroughly, and they do not have to concern themselves with potential tool breakages.
Powerful Ultrasonic Drills
Higher-torque, more powerful hand drills are very useful in root canal therapy. Modern ultrasonic drills produce high-frequency vibrations which also can help cleanse and disinfect the tooth and root area, resulting in superior overall results.
One example of this technology would be the GentleWave drill. This drill uses special ultrasonic vibrations, along with a unique cleaning fluid, to remove enamel and infected tissue, and cleanse the tooth simultaneously. This helps speed up the treatment process, and reduces the likelihood of the infection recurring.
Laser Root Canal Therapy
Some dentists have stopped using drills for most of their root canal treatment, and have instead turned to advanced, modern laser tools. These tools are extremely effective at removing endodontic infections, and are more minimally-invasive, causing no vibrations or discomfort during treatment. The precision of lasers also means that, in many cases, less enamel must be removed, which helps strengthen and preserve the treated tooth.
Lasers can be used to open up the tooth, and also to remove the source of the infection. The WaterLase system is a good example of this. Using a high-powered laser, the infected tissue is removed, and then a specialized water jet and cleaning solution are used alongside the laser to remove infected material.
Because laser root canal therapy is less invasive than using a traditional drill and dental tools, it’s a good choice for those who may have dental anxiety, or who are nervous about undergoing the root canal procedure.
Surgical Microscopes And Apex Locators
Modern digital technology has made it easier to use surgical microscopes during root canal therapy, which allows dentists to get a better perspective on your tooth, and ensure that all infected material is removed. Combined with digital x-rays, surgical microscopes ensure that the process is fast, effective, and results in better patient outcomes.
Apex locators are also being used more frequently in some dental offices. Modern apex locators use specialized sound waves to measure the root of the tooth, and ensure that the dentist can be guided to the very end of the root canal. This ensures that the dentist removes all infected material, and does not leave any potentially-harmful bacteria behind, which could cause reinfection of the tooth.
Root Canals Are Faster, More Effective, And Safer Than Ever Before!
If you think you may need a root canal, getting immediate treatment is critical for saving your tooth. And, as you can see, today’s dentists are using modern technology to provide fantastic patient results. Wondering what you else can expect from your root canal treatment? Contact your dentist, and ask them about the tools and methods they use.